Moeller, La Salle Advance To DI Regional Semifinals


Posted on 3/9/2020 at 10:28 a.m.

Crusaders’ Kremer Gets Win No. 600; Lancers Get Past St. Xavier In OT
Greater Catholic League South Division basketball was on display Sunday in the district finals of the Ohio High School Athletic Association State Tournament at Xavier University’s Cintas Center, and it certainly did not disappoint those in attendance.  GCL South champion Moeller, the two-time defending Division I state champion, used a 33-0 scoring spurt to take a 65-25 victory against Springboro in the second of four games, and then La Salle and St. Xavier staged an Instant Classic in the final game of the day, with the Lancers prevailing, 60-52, in overtime to advance to Wednesday’s regional semifinals.
La Salle needed a three-point goal at the buzzer by sophomore Devin Taylor to send the game to regulation, and the Lancers used their momentum to pull away in the extra period and beat its North Bend Road rival for the third time this season.  Taylor’s game-tying, 30-foot shot came after La Salle had the ball trailing 44-41 with 2.1 seconds to play.  Ayden Schneider passed the ball inbounds to Kevin Crigler, who then got it to Taylor for the game-tying shot as time expired.
The victory moves La Salle (23-3) into the regional semifinals against Lakota East (24-2) at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Cintas Center.  The Lancers have won eight of nine and 13 of their last 15 games, while East enters the regional riding a 15-game winning streak.  East – which won the Greater Miami Conference in the regular season – kept its postseason journey alive with a 33-32 win against Beavercreek in the first of four district finals yesterday.
Moeller (25-1), which has won 24 consecutive games this season and 20 straight in the postseason, will face Centerville (15-11) in the first semifinal at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday at Cintas Center. Centerville posted a 48-40 win against Lakota West to advance to the regional tournament.  The Elks hosted Moeller on January 4, with Moeller leaving Greater Dayton with a 57-46 victory.   Moeller also defeated Centerville, 59-41, in the postseason last March.
The regional final is 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Cintas Center.
The win by Moeller was career win No. 600 for Crusaders’ coach Carl Kremer, who is now 600-158 in 30 seasons as Moeller’s coach.  The Crusaders are 109-5 the last three-plus seasons, and also extended their winning streak to 81 games in a row against teams from Southwest Ohio. According to the OHSAA records, Kremer is the 14th  coach in state history to amass 600 or more career and only the second from Greater Cincinnati to do so – joining legendary Paul Walker, who coached the Middies from 1946-76.
Moeller – which has now won seven consecutive district titles – had three players in double figures, led by 10 from junior Logan Duncomb, 17 from junior Will McCracken and 10 from senior Max Land.  The Crusaders ended the first half by scoring 28 unanswered points, and then scored the first five of the third quarter to extend its scoring spurt to 33 points and take a commanding advantage against Springboro (13-12), which had won four straight entering the game.
For much of its game against St. Xavier (17-8), it appeared that La Salle’s season was about to end. The Lancers managed just 13 points in the first half and trailed St. Xavier, 25-13, at intermission. St. Xavier increased the lead to 36-20 with just under three minutes left in the third quarter before La Salle scored 14 consecutive points.  St. Xavier   then held a 43-36 advantage with 1:13 remaining in the game.  But La Salle sank five free throws – three by senior Derek Eddings and a pair by Schneider, to cut the deficit to 43-41.
St. Xavier struggled from the free-throw line, hitting just 5-of-15 In the game and 4-of-11 in the second half – missing three key free throws in the final seconds, including the front end of a one-and-one bonus that gave La Salle a chance at its final play and set up the game-trying three-pointer from Taylor.  Junior guard Kobe Rodgers led St. Xavier with a double-double, finishing with 14 points and 14 rebounds.  The Bombers had a strong season, coming just one win away from their first district title since 2010.
Senior Jeff Queen Jr. had a big game for La Salle, finishing with a game-high 20 points that included 8-of-10 shooting from the field and 3-of-3 from the free-throw line.   Queen scored nine of his team’s 13 points in the first half.  Senior Jaylen Lemons made a pair of key baskets in OT, to give La Salle a 48-46 lead, and the Lancers then proceeded to sink nine free throws in the final minute and a half to preserve the victory.